The committee’s vice chair, GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, said at Tuesday’s hearing that two witnesses — whom she did not name — told the committee they heard from people related world of former President Donald Trump who might have tried to intimidate them. Sources tell CNN that Hutchinson is one of those witnesses.
“We often ask witnesses connected to Mr. Trump’s administration or campaign whether they were contacted by any of their former colleagues, or anyone else, who attempted to influence or impact their testimony,” Cheney said during the hearing, before showing excerpts of how witnesses answered that question.
In both instances, the committee showed testimony where witnesses were told that the former president cared that they had been called by the committee and that he hoped they would remain committed to Trump.
Hutchinson’s safety was a serious committee concern leading up to his hearing. That’s part of why they kept his identity a secret before the meeting.
Hutchinson, an aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, testified for nearly two hours on Tuesday and in recorded testimony behind closed doors about how Meadows and Trump were repeatedly tipped off about the security issues before and on the day of January. 6 2021, rally and riot. Hutchinson also testified about how Trump repeatedly sought to get to the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Committee members suggested that the two examples they presented represented only a fraction of the evidence they had linked to possible witness intimidation.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, a member of the committee, told CNN the behavior was part of a pattern of conduct by the former president.
“Certainly we’ve seen a story of the former president trying to influence witnesses or intimidate them,” Schiff said.
A spokesperson for the select committee declined to comment on the committee’s claims about possible witness intimidation.
At Tuesday’s hearing, Cheney said the committee had evidence of a “particular practice that raises serious concerns.”
One witness, Cheney said, described phone calls from people interested in this witness’s testimony. Cheney said the anonymous witness told the committee: “What they told me was that as long as I continue to be a team player, they know I’m on the right team. I do the right thing. I protect who I have to protect. You know, I will continue to stay in good graces in Trump’s world. And they reminded me a few times that Trump reads the transcripts.
The second example Cheney gave is a call a witness received saying, “Quote ‘someone let me know you have your statement tomorrow. He wants me to let you know he’s thinking of you. He knows you’re loyal. And you’re gonna do the right thing when you go for your deposition.””
“It’s very serious,” Cheney said. “It really goes to the heart of our legal system. And it’s something the committee will definitely look into.”
She added, “It gives us a real insight into how the people around the former president operate, how much they think they can affect the testimony of witnesses before the committee, and that’s something something that we take very seriously, and it’s something that people should be aware of – it’s a very serious issue, and I imagine the Department of Justice would be very interested and would take that very seriously as well. ”
This story was updated with additional developments on Thursday.